Saving Pennies 101

I think most moms are looking for ways to save money but not everyone is cut out to be an extreme couponer (although I admit, food is by far our biggest expense every month).  There are ways to save money around the house without digging in dumpsters for scraps of food and going through mounds of newspapers for the best coupons.

I am no money saving expert, but we have had to make some adjustments to our lifestyle since we went from 2 incomes down to 1…and from 0 to 3 kids in less than 2 years. It’s been a big change and for me to continue to stay home, we’re going to have to keep working on our money saving techniques. For now, here are just 10 of my money saving tips!

You don’t need a culinary degree to make homemade bread, desserts, snacks and almost all of your food.  Buying chicken and breadcrumbs is cheaper than chicken nuggets. Baking bread makes your kitchen smell nice and can saves you money. Food isn’t the only thing you can make from scratch though. We make our own detergent and household cleaners, using a lot of cheap things like vinegar and bars of soap.

I admit, for my face, I splurge and usually buy nicer products. I don’t want wrinkles and try to buy greener, chemical free products. But I make up the difference because I don’t buy shampoo or fancy hair things. I use baking soda and apple cider vinegar on my hair. Coconut oil is a great moisturizer and it’s easy to make deodorant and other things you use every day but don’t even think about. Fancy shampoo is definitely not a necessity.

I cut everyone’s hair in this house. Amelia has gotten one haircut from a salon in my hometown and I think cost $5.  Since then, she’s had several hair cuts, all for free by me. I also cut Tom, Jack and Ben’s hair every month. I trim my own hair but when I need a good cut (once or twice a year) I will usually go somewhere affordable, not a high end salon. I don’t like them using the chemicals and things on my hair so I just get a cut without washing and styling. I’d let my husband do it but I don’t trust him to make my hair straight or to layer it a bit to give it some style. Once or twice a year though is a lot cheaper than every few weeks like some people will go get their hair done. I’m lucky enough to have nice colored hair with natural highlights so I don’t color my hair. When it turns grey any day now, we’ll revisit this topic.

I am NOT a crafter. I will not pretend to be a crafter. There are many craft bloggers out there that are way more entertaining then I am. But I have made several craft projects to use as home decorations. I’ve also started making Amelia’s dresses. Cute, original boutique dresses can cost over $30 a dress! I can make 5 or 6 for that price! I made several dresses for Amelia for the summer for about $25. By doing this, she gets cute dresses and Tom doesn’t yell at me when he sees the prices. I guess I can craft when I want to 😉

Just get rid of it. You’ll thank me later. We have Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Netflix and Hulu are actually family accounts that I share with other family members so we don’t even pay for those. We just pay for internet every month.

A night out is expensive! Not always because you do an expensive activity or eat a $100 dinner. The babysitter can sometimes be the biggest cost. Now, not to take away from high school entrepreneurs, BUT trading off kids with a mom friend and going on a Saturday day date with your husband means a nice outing without kids for next to nothing. We’ll hire a babysitter if we plan to be out for bed time, but for a normal outing, I’m happy to watch someone else’s kids for the day and they’re USUALLY happy to watch mine. My brood can be a handful so maybe if you have 3+ young kids, find several mom friends so you can rotate friends 😉

Swagbucks, Ebates, and surveys can make you an extra dollar or 2 here and there. I’ve gotten a lot of gift cards using Shopkick. Even using our credit card gives us a few extra dollars every month in cash. Find the cards and apps that will work for you and make the money you do spend count! Just make sure you don’t buy things just to try to make a few extra pennies or go to target just to get some shopkicks, because you know you can’t get out of there without spending $50. It’s the Target curse.

It’s not gross and not just for the hippies. Try it, you’ll thank me later. I wrote a post ages ago about cloth diapering the twins and my favorite diapers and things…you can find that post HERE.

The Duggars say it best. Most of the kids books, toys, games, puzzles, and even clothes are hand me downs from neighbors.  Being in a military community, when people move, they usually just want to get rid of their junk. They give us stuff their kids have grown out of for free or super cheap.  If you don’t live in a military community, chances are your town probably has a resale page on Facebook. It’s USUALLY a little less sketch than Craigslist. We have a used piano, climber/slide for the kids, and even snack cups. We’ve gotten all of it from neighbors…

…Used is cool.

OK not for everyone, but if you have something interesting to say, some people can make a lot of money just sharing their thoughts and opinions.

Comments (2)

  • Great tips, Emily! Food is a big expense here, too, and while I still clip coupons and stock up when I can match a coupon to a good sale, we’re finding substantial savings in our weekly groceries by price-matching all of our fresh produce and meat. My new mantra is “Grapes are always on sale, somewhere!”

    I’ll be following your blog … happy to have found you through PTPA!

  • Great tips! I can’t always keep my coupon book up-to-date but I always price match and stock up on sale items. I think that’s the biggest savings for us. I haven’t heard of shopkick, I’ll be checking htat out!

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